THE ABANDONED MILITARY SITE IN GERMANY
This site was called ‘Lager 1’, but today the name ‘Altes Lager’ is more common for the military site close to Jüterbog. It was built by the Prussian army and later by the Soviets until 1992. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the site was abandoned.
In 1870 the Prussian army bought this land in Niedergörsdorf to built barracks. The new military site was built close to the shooting range, which had existed since 1864. By the time the Franco-Prussian war began in 1870, this military training site had expanded to cover 40 acres. About 9 thousand French prisoners of war were used for forced labor. In 1889, when the war was over, they build another firing range so that field artillery and foot artillery could practice separately. The original field became known as Altes Lager.
It was initially referred to as Lager 1. Later, the terms Altes Lager and Neues Lager became common for the two military settlements, which, like Jüterbog 2, belonged to the Militär-Gutsbezirk, or military estate district of Schießplatz Jüterbog.
From 1916 until the end of the First World War, there was a military airfield in Altes Lager. The facilities were dismantled and the halls demolished. The airfield was rebuilt in 1935 and was used by the German Luftwaffe until the end of the Second World War. The air field was also used by a military school for pilots and engineers.
After the war, during the Cold War, the Soviet army took over the military sites. Eventually, in 1946 the town became an official village, situated in the middle of a huge military site of the Soviet army. During 1994 the buildings were abandoned when the Soviets left Germany after the end of the German division. In 1997 the community was incorporated into Niedergörsdorf. Many buildings have been converted into apartments, but some kept unused and abandoned until today. I visited ‘Altes Lager’ both in 2008 and 2021.